“It may have been too far out there for some people but I personally liked it,” said The Strain showrunner Carlton Cuse today about the graphic billboards FX pulled in some LA locations last week after getting grossed out complaints. The billboards of the upcoming series based on the trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan depicted a close up illustration of a worm coming out of a human eyeball. “I think that the ad was bold and imaginative and clearly not for everyone,” added the former Lost producer today on a strain billboard fxconference call. “I feel the same way,” said del Toro. “I think FX has a great sense of who their audience is,” he added, “the worm with the eye is very powerful.”

“Much as I think that the show has many layers of appeal,” the Pacific Rim director noted the vampire drama might not be for a mass TV audience. “We do go to territories that are pretty extreme and graphic,” del Toro said describing the show as “a thriller with horror elements.”

Despite the pulled billboards, both reiterate the strong support they’ve had from their first meeting with FX. “John Landgraf read all three books and he made the decision that The Strain fit into the portfolio of shows on FX,’ Cuse said. “They give you time to find your footing,” added del Toro as he spoke of the long pre-production time he requested for the series to get it in the shape he, Cuse and Hogan wanted. “I know you need to have an edge to belong in the FX brand but I know visually, I know we are bringing new stuff to the brand,” del Toro said about the stylized aesthetics and high production value of The Strain. “We do go to very edgy places with the content,” he also said.  Cuse summed up the cabler love-in when he said “we can’t drop F-bombs but that’s about it, FX has been incredibly supportive.”

2014 Huading Film Awards - ArrivalsThat goodwill was also evident in the interplay today between Del Toro and Cuse, who were brought together for the first time for this project. The director joked that the creative team behind The Strain Hollywood Radio And Television Society (HRTS) Annual Hitmakers Panelwere “three men and a baby, for vampires” as he talked about the relationship between himself, Cuse and Hogan. It was a sentiment his producing partner in crime agreed with. “I think this has been a really great collaboration of both of our processes,” added Cuse. Both talked about the series giving them an opportunity to revamp the vampire genre from the love stories of The Twilight Saga. “We set out to make the show we want to see.”

The Strain tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, played by Corey Stoll, the NYC head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team as he and his crew try to figure out a mysterious viral outbreak that seems to have arrived via a European-originated plane of seemingly dead passengers. That outbreak reveals itself to be a strain of vampirism. As they have before, the duo projected that the series would go 5 seasons but no more. “The plan is the series will run from 3 to 5 seasons,” Cuse said noting book 1 is essentially Season 1. “It won’t be more than 5 seasons,” he added noting the desire of audiences for a beginning, middle and end to their TV nowadays. “We are writing to an end point.”